Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan: It Ain’t the Years, but the Miles that Matter

As the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant enters this new 2010-2011 NBA season at the age of 32, the buzz in the league is how he has passed his prime and is old. But, to paraphrase Mark Twain, talk of Kobe’s demise is highly overrated. 

For the answer to the age argument, let’s look back to the player that Kobe is constantly compared to: Michael Jordan. We’re talking the number one and number two best perimeter players to ever lace them up. And, Kobe isn’t done. 

If Kobe can walk away with a third title in a row next June, having vanquished either the Boston Celtics for a 2nd year in a row (my prediction) or beaten the circus called the Miami Heat with superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, or won a rematch of the 2009 Finals against the Orlando Magic, Kobe will seriously make the argument that he is better than MJ. He’ll have beaten far better competition than MJ ever battled.

But, that’s not really my point. I digress. 

The fact is this: Kobe isn’t old, at least not in age. He’s only 32. 

But, the real question is this: Does the famous phrase from Indiana Jones, “It's the miles, not the years that matter,” apply?

When MJ was 32, no one was saying he was old, done, worn out, over the hill. And, rightfully so.

In 1995-1996, Michael was 32. That year, his Chicago Bulls won a record-breaking 72 games and walked away with the first of another three-peat NBA title. MJ was more than dominant that year and his game stayed at that high level until 1998, when he won the third title in a row and retired for the second time. (I’m not going to talk about his third go round with the Wizards. I block that from my memory.)

Kobe just turned 32 this past summer. All factors show he is far from done, his well kept body still humming. He’s not lost any lift or speed, especially whe...

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